Oil prices settled several dollars lower on Monday after reaching $70 per barrel over the weekend. Energy prices were lower in mid-day trading today, with the WTI down 1.4% at $64.25/bbl, Brent down 0.94% at $69.19/bbl, and natural gas off 0.4% at $2.65/MMBtu.
Just seven out of 18 U.S. oil refineries that were down due to the Texas Freeze are back to normal operations.
Chinese natural gas imports jumped 17.4% in the first two months of 2021 compared to the year-ago period, a result of the coldest winter in decades.
American and European oil majors, including BP and Exxon Mobil, could shut refining facilities in Australia amid an influx of cheap Chinese petroleum.
DuPont announced plans to acquire Laird Performance Materials for $2.3 billion as it looks to develop its portfolio of advanced electronic materials.
Renewable energy leader NextEra is partnering with startup Mainspring Energy to distribute the company’s novel linear generators, a low cost, low temperature, low emissions method for onsite power generation.
Leading PET recycler CarbonLite filed to reorganize in bankruptcy court, citing low virgin resin prices and pandemic pressures for its struggles.
Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.
Port congestion seen on the U.S. West Coast is spreading to Asia, particularly Singapore, with DSV and DHL confirming significantly longer wait times for ships looking to enter port and unload. Congestion at California ports continues to shatter previous records as more importers shift operations to the East and Gulf Coasts.
Logistics conditions remain strained, with trucking demand exceeding availability and continued congestion at ports due in part to operating challenges related to the pandemic. Clients are advised to provide expanded lead times on orders to help ensure delivery dates.
There were 44,758 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. yesterday, pushing total cases above 29 million. There were 719 deaths, and 9.6% of the population has now been fully vaccinated.
Americans could begin receiving $1,400 checks this week if the latest stimulus bill is signed into law, which could happen as early as tomorrow. Once passed, the $1.9 trillion aid bill is not likely to cause an inflation problem, the Treasury Secretary said.
Only 53% of Americans say they are comfortable eating at restaurants again, complicating menu planning, food ordering and staffing as states loosen restrictions on dining in.
Service sectors have been largely left out of the U.S. jobs recovery…
…with most of the 9.5 million job losses since last February in the service sectors:
Finance chiefs across a range of consumer products companies are considering price increases to offset rising costs of logistics and raw materials, including plastics.
Booming furniture demand is colliding with factory capacity limits, raw material shortages and logistics snarls to cause long delivery delays for consumers.
U.S. airlines averaged more than 1 million passengers per day the last week, the highest non-holiday total since early last year.
Airlines, travel groups and labor are asking the federal government to develop a virus passport that would document a person’s vaccination and test results.
American Airlines will use cash flow from its frequent-flier program to back $7.5 billion in new financing to pay back government loans.
Traditional internal combustion automakers are penetrating the U.S. electrical vehicle market, dropping Tesla’s market share from 81% to 69% over the past year.
Japanese car companies, heavily invested in hybrid vehicles, have been slow in pivoting to electric vehicles compared with their European and North American competition.
New legislation would give the U.S. Postal Service $6 billion to transition its fleet to electric vehicles.
Total global COVID-19 deaths surpassed 2.6 million yesterday.
India’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign is stalling amid safety concerns over its homegrown shot.
Thailand cut its quarantine period from 14 to seven days for visitors to the country who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Thai lawmakers are also mulling vaccine certificates.
Italy approved AstraZeneca/Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine for those over age 65, reversing a previous limit on the shots.
Embraced abroad, Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine faces one of the highest levels of vaccine hesitancy at home. Shots are free and widely available, yet only 3.5% of Russians have received at least one dose.
Japanese lawmakers are maintaining a ban on the entry of foreign nationals just weeks before preparations for the Olympics begin. A limit of 2,000 daily arrivals is set to take place once Tokyo’s virus emergency ends.
Singapore Airlines will begin a “digital travel pass” program to store passengers’ health information, including vaccine and testing status.
European pandemic aid has largely gone to full-time wage earners, leaving many self-employed and temporary workers in economic hardship.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development boosted its projection for global economic growth this year from 4.0% to 5.6% based on the rapid rollout of vaccines and the likelihood of additional U.S. stimulus.
France’s economy is poised to grow slightly in the first quarter, staving off a second recession.
Compared to its recovery from the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the U.K. is relying more on tax hikes and less on spending cuts to re-balance its budget.
South Africa’s economy rebounded 6.3% in the fourth quarter from the third after shrinking 7.3% for all of 2020, the biggest decline in a century.
Chinese exports grew at a record pace in February, rising 154.9% compared to the year earlier period when lockdowns paused the country’s economy. Car sales there quadrupled last month.
Europe’s second largest automotive parts manufacturer, Continental AG, expects a muted recovery for the industry this year due to the pandemic and a computer chip shortage.
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We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.
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